It can be frustrating to be on a waiting list for an allotment, waiting year after year to fulfill your dreams of growing your own food. In some parts of London you can wait 25 years! The UK average is around 4 years. Here are just a few ways of jumping the waiting list.
Jumping the Waiting List
Get involved with your chosen allotment site through their open days. The majority of sites will have an open day once or twice a year where members of the public pay a fee, usually £1, to walk around the allotments and take in a slice of cake and mug of tea. Lending a helping hand to manage the cake stand or cafe will get your face seen by the committee on a regular basis. A keen plotter could be seen as an asset to have on the site by the committee.
Community & Work Party Days
Once a month committees usually put out a call for plotholders to help clean the site of rubbish and keep everything looking neat. Jobs from mowing the grass paths to fixing fences are usually followed by communal refreshments for those who helped out. Contact the committee of the site you are after and offer your help. Demonstrating to the committee your keenness may help your name get to the top of the waiting list.
Become an allotment buddy
Let the committee know you’d like to buddy up with a current plotholder, giving them a helping hand on an established plot. On some sites elderly people are teamed up with younger buddies so they can continue growing rather than having to lose the plot. Helping out at one of the previous events is a great way to find out if anyone needs helps.
Research what plots are available in the next council borough. It maybe a extra 5 minute walk for you but you could find they don’t have a waiting list and you could get a plot within weeks or months.
Contact the Committee
One plotholder phoned and emailed their site committee every week for a year, in the end they gave her an allotment just to stop the phone calls and emails. Maybe a good tactic to get on the site but at some point you may need the committee on your side if you become ill and can’t tend the plot for a while, the committee may not support you if they feel you are a nuisance.
Pin a Note
Leave a note pinned on the site gate addressed to the secretary, outline why you want an allotment and the benefits you will receive from tending it. Some sites run their own allotment waiting list parallel to the council list. Covering all bases is best.
If all else fails, make a donation to the committee fund. 😉